Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Rainbow, Rainbow, Rainbow

Good Grief! I met with three college presidents from various places today on my way down to Denver. I know, by their graceful attitude towards me, that they think I'm a significant person to listen to, though that always surprises me. The trip down to the Eastern Slope moved through at least five microclimates, from snowy, blizzardy Vail Pass to the dryness after the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70, where there is no snow, and, surprisingly for winter in Colorado, blue skies and a rainbow welcoming me. The Nicaraguans call a rainbow iris, after the Greek goddess, and it felt so appropriate that I should be headed to my lover, then, my daughter, son-in-law and great GRAND KIDS, Nicholas and Jeremy, then, Nica, and experience not only blue skies--First time in weeks!--but also a "rainbow, rainbow, rainbow" (Elizabeth Bishop, "The Fish").

Of course, it's a sign of greats to come, for me, but, then, I'm a mystic of the Teresa of Avila variety. Felt good to me. Hope I don't translate into the treetops as she did! Here's the wondrous poem by Ms. Bishop (strange format, I'll try to correct, but, if not, you'll get the picture):

"I caught a tremendous fish/ and held him beside the boat/ half out of water, with my hook/ fast in a corner of its mouth./ He didn’t fight./ He hadn’t fought at all./ He hung a grunting weight,/ battered and venerable/ and homely. Here and there/ his brown skin hung in strips/ like ancient wallpaper,/ and its pattern of darker brown/ was like wallpaper:/ shapes like full-blown roses/ stained and lost through age./ He was speckled with barnacles,/ fine rosettes of lime,/ and infested/ with tiny white sea-lice,/ and underneath two or three/ rags of green weed hung down./ While his gills were breathing in/ the terrible oxygen/ — the frightening gills,/ fresh and crisp with blood,/ that can cut so badly/ — I thought of the coarse white flesh/ packed in like feathers,/ the big bones and the little bones,/ the dramatic reds and blacks/ of his shiny entrails,/ and the pink swim-bladder/ like a big peony./ I looked into his eyes/ which were far larger than mine/ but shallower, and yellowed,/ the irises backed and packed/ with tarnished tinfoil/ seen through the lenses/ of old scratched isinglass./ They shifted a little, but not/ to return my stare./ — It was more like the tipping/ of an object toward the light./ I admired his sullen face,/ the mechanism of his jaw,/ and then I saw that from his lower lip/ — if you could call it a lip/ — grim, wet, and weaponlike,/ hung five old pieces of fish-line,/ or four and a wire leader/ with the swivel still attached,/ with all their five big hooks/ grown firmly in his mouth./ A green line, frayed at the end/ where he broke it, two heavier lines,/ and a fine black thread/ still crimped from the strain and snap/ when it broke and he got away./ Like medals with their ribbons/ frayed and wavering,/ a five-haired beard of wisdom/ trailing from his aching jaw./ I stared and stared/ and victory filled up/ the little rented boat,/ from the pool of bilge/ where oil had spread a rainbow/ around the rusted engine/ to the bailer rusted orange,/ the sun-cracked thwarts,/ the oarlocks on their strings,/ the gunnels — until everything/ was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!/ And I let the fish go."

I love it, and I hope you will. Gracias, CenterDoug

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